Now I taste jasmine on my tongue

Okay, so, it turns out my un-coordination is more then anecdotal. For all the smart asses out there, I know we’ve known that for a while, but right now I have a scabby knee and a blue and bloaty ankle as evidence. It’s a long story involving King Street and not looking where I was going and something that looked vaguely like cream cheese, but long story short I am hobbling and feeling decidedly sorry for myself.

This also has more then a bit to do with missing the Newcastle Mountain Goats show because of said ankle. I spent the majority of Saturday afternoon feeling sad, and then angry, and then frustrated, because I couldn’t stand let alone drive 2 hours up the coast. And given how AWESOME the show at Manning Bar was on the Friday night, I’d have given most anything to see them again.

Which is why I’m (we’re) contemplating a trip to Brisbane on Sunday. We’ll see.

I was careful with my expectations for Friday night. Given the mind-blowing greatness of the show last year at the Metro I wanted to give a little room for this one to fall short. And it did. Not by a long way, mind, but a combination of a good not great set list, John’s jet lag and also the LENGTH of the set, meant it just didn’t quite get there on the level of awesome.

I will say this though – there is no more generous performer on earth then John Darnielle. He just throws all he has into his performance, and he’s so endearing and engaging and I don’t know – I could just listen to him rabbit on for hours. And that’s not even mentioning the songs.

Set list and wonderful review here.

I haven’t managed to find a set list from the Newcastle show yet, but in a way that’s probably a good thing. If he played anything from the Coroners Gambit I’m likely to throw a very unattractive tantrum.

What I DID manage to find today was a set list from a DiFranco show on 29/11. And I am EXCITED. Plenty of brand new stuff, a decent amount from Red Letter Year (which I really like) and also some older stuff I’d love to hear any time any where. Like Back Back Back and Overlap. And she opened with FUEL – I live in fear that she won’t perform any spoken word at all and this reignites some hope in me. I love that track so much.

I was listening to School Night today (while working from home – probably the one good outcome from my inability to walk along a street without hurting myself) and that song is such a perfect illustration of what an amazing lyricist she is. No one writes metaphor like she does – there are some lyricists that write direct, scathing lyrics (thank you JD) and some who write with sweeping imagery that you struggle to fully keep up with (Spencer Krug I’m looking at you), but no one writes metaphor like Ani. FACT.

What of the mother
whose house is in flames,
and both of her children
are in their beds crying
She loves them both
with the whole of her heart
but she knows she can only
carry one at a time?
She’s choking on the smoke
of unthinkable choices
She is haunted by the voices
of so many desires
She’s bent over from the business
of begging forgiveness
while frantically running around
putting out fires

But then what kind of scale
compares the weight of two beauties
The gravity of duties
or the ground speed of joy?
Tell me what kind of gauge
can quantify elation
What kind of equation
could I possibly employ?

5 6 seven

So, I was tagged by Oz at Decomposing Trees. I’m not very good at answering tags, usually, or for that matter accepting Facebook requests. Or answering emails. Or text messages, actually.

ANYHOO I am doing this one. It WAS back on August 6 (sorry Oz) but better late then never, right?

So – seven songs I’m digging right now.

Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy – Glory Goes

I have a Will Oldham post building up inside of me. The music of this man has come to mean more to me then I fully expected. This song is everything wonderful about Oldham’s music for me – it’s just so honest. The steady violin behind the melody is wonderful, and the lyric ‘you sing me back into myself’ feels like home.

Frightened Rabbit – Keep Yourself Warm

I could have mentioned maybe 6 other songs on this album. Potentially my album of the year. And for anyone playing along at home, YES there was a MOUNTAIN GOATS release this year. So you understand the gravity of that statement, right? Anyway, this song (apart from the lyrics, because it’s always about the lyrics) is about the organ opening, but more so about 3:48 into the song. Go listen. Right away.

Mount Eerie with Julie Doiron & Fred Squire – Flaming Home

So, a girl has a shitty day, within a shitty week, and suggest dinner with the one person in the world that feels like sanity to her. There’s an evening of talking and sorting and naan bread. And then, standing on the footpath outside of the restaurant, before she heads back to the car and out to the Windsor Wilderness, he puts headphones on her head to play her a song. Phil Everum pours into her ears and suddenly the whole week, nay, the whole WORLD, is wonderful.

The Microphones – I Felt Your Shape

I’m a girl in love. And I reckon this song was written for girls in love. So, there you have it.

The Mountain Goats and Kaki King – Thank You Mario But Our Princess Is In Another Castle

There had to be a Mountain Goats song, right? This one is brand spanking new, and was put up on Pitchfork last week. Lookie here. It’s a beautiful little song about love and Super Nintendo. Only John Darnielle, right? I love this song for the gentle, shuffling percussion from Ms King, and also the lyric ‘when you came in, I could breathe again.’ Beautiful.

Ani DiFranco – Pulse

Ani is a poet. I know she studied poetry pretty early on and a lot of her work is spoken word, and I really think that these tracks are often underrated on her albums. I know a lot of people skip them, but as I feel myself growing out of her music, I feel myself growing into these poems. This one is an old one, but some of the imagery in the words completely knocks me out. I mean –

We lie in our beds and in our graves,
Unable to save ourselves
From the quaint tragedies we invent, and undo
From the stupid circumstances we slalom through

And I realized that night that the hall light,
Which seemed so bright when you turned it on,
Is nothing compared to the dawn
Which is nothing,
Compared to the light which seeps from you while you’re sleeping
Cocooned in my room,
Beautiful and grotesque,
That night we got kicked out of two bars and laughed our way home

That bit about the hall light makes me catch my breath every single time.

Neutral Milk Hotel – Gardenhead/Leave Me Alone

This song will always be on these lists for me. The reasons I love it are more animal then explainable.

I just want to dance in your tangles
To give me some reason to move

Tangle might be my favourite word in the English language.

You’ve been here before

The last 3 months have easily been the most professionally challenging of my life. The fact that it’s coinciding with me (and the boy) purchasing my first house, is making for somewhat interesting times. Somehow, though, it’s okay. So far. There was a hairy moment at around 11 this morning when Sam had to slowly take the client file from my hands and repeatedly tell me to calm down, but otherwise sanity remains intact.

Sort of.

Mount Eerie helps. My cat helps. The constant support of the boy is, well, everything else. And the thought of that little house lying maybe 50kms away, waiting for us to live in it. That kinda pulls me through every single day.

Dear Glenn,

So I’ve heard your new song maybe 5 or 6 times now. I’d really love to say that I love it. I’d really love to say I like it, even. But I can’t. Which makes me sad.

Here’s the thing – there are two reasons why I LOVE Augie March. First – few people in the world write an old-fashioned ballad the way that you do. When I listen to There Is No Such Place or Bottle Baby I swoon. It’s music for swooning. Second – your uproarious songs – you know, the ones where the whole band is playing and you shout at the top of your lungs – have some of my favourite OMFG moments in music. Australian music at least. Songs like Song In The Key Of Chance and One Crowded Hour build and build until you think your head might explode.

Oh oh oh and there’s a third. Third, the lyrics. You write god damn amazing lyrics Glenn.

And there-in lies the issue. The song starts at a medium pace, and finishes at a medium pace. The articulation of the lyrics is a little weird dude. Actually, no, not weird – a little mediocre. Like, I could hear this on commercial radio and not blink. And holy hell, it scars me on the inside to say that. Also, with all that weird synth stuff happening all around the song, I cannot even make out the lyrics. I tried very, very hard tonight, driving home from work, to hear what you were singing. And I’m not sure if it was just my toast-brain from my fucked up day, but I was really truly struggling.

So yeah. Not so much love. I will though, like any good CFG, buy your new album next month. I am also going to your show at the Metro. Because I haven’t given up on you yet. You wrote every single song on Strange Bird and for that I will love you forever.

See you soon.


Well, go on, assume

So I was writing a post about being patient. And about the enormity of Things. And then the boy sent me these lyrics and I’ve spent the last 15 minutes swooning and wondering how on earth beauty like this can exist in the world –

Pull down the shades, lets kill the morning
Lets kill the morning, let it die
Will your eyes flash out a warning
But they’ll be another morning after afternoon and tonight
Fuck long hours sick with singing
Sick with singing the same songs
In the bars, they’ll soon be drinking
Lets cash my check and drink along

Old times, hello, hey, I’ve missed you
Old life, hey now, let me in
Because you win on every issue
Now, can I kiss you?
Don’t you care how long it’s been?
It has been so many years, I lived my yearning
But in every bed, it led me through
They only bloom on what was burning
And it grew, the fire grew
And now with nothing to consume
It’s turned on me in my glass room
Where I’ll burn, you think I’m finished
Think I’m not winning
Well, go on, assume

So, take me, I’m yours, morning starship
Sparkling stars line your lights as they lift off the loneliest street corner this clown has yet leaned against
I’ll let all these fine faces fold into me
The warmth from the space lights illumines the sea as the laughingest mouths wetly open, but we set them sighing
We’ll take them flying
And we’ll take this man left almost passed out
Cause we’re pretty sure he needs a hand
He says he can’t stand
And when we pick him up
He asks us where this ship will land
But he knows we know it isn’t coming down
He knows we know we’ll fly so far
Til finally stars hold him in all around
Til he forgets the ground
Til he forgets the crawling way
Real people sometimes are

God damn it Will Sheff. You own a very large piece of my heart.

I’ll pull the curtains and blinds to let the light in

I was standing on the surface of a perforated sphere
When the water filled every hole
And thousands upon thousands made an ocean
Making islands where no island should go

An ocean in a teacup. That’s pretty much the way I feel about this post. How do you fit a million little somethings into one tiny vessel?

I’m not sure why I stopped writing. The enormity of just, I don’t know, everything had me weighted down and shuffling. I had to offload some stuff and, well, some stuff you just can’t unload. But a blog you can. Pretty easily, actually. And it’s strange, because I’ve thought about what this place means to me more in the last 4 weeks then I have in probably all the time it existed.

So anyway, I’m sitting here wondering where the hell I should start, given that the last post I wrote was about the Pope. So I figure, start at the now and touch on the then and grab for the to-be. Grabbing, and embracing, is much better then grappling. Which is generally my state of affairs.

The Is No Plan Here.

I went and saw Death Cab at the Enmore on Monday night. The show followed a weekend of wedding shenanigans in Cairns and to be really honest given the way my body is screaming at me right now it’s probably the last thing I should have done. But like any good gig will do, it energized me more then anything else. That split second as the lights go down, right before the band come out on stage… man, they should learn to bottle that shizzat because it’s good for what ails ya. In the mental sense I mean.

I think I got a little spoiled given the amazing bands that toured at the start of the year. I got to a point where it was all ‘just another gig’ I think. And that’s just silly. Because for as long as I can remember, live music to me = everything. There are other things now to me that = everything, but live music is all wound up and in an out of that.

I’m confused

I’ll never understand the dynamics of the music industry. More particularly why one artist or band or album will get a massive push, and another won’t. I’m sure it’s to do with labels and promoters and what not, but I have trouble getting my head around it.

Case in point – Fleet Foxes. I like the band. I’ve heard enough to know that. I’m not quite as mad-keen on them as the boy is, but I like the harmonies and the music almost seems from another time. But who out there in the great, wide indie universe decided that this band should be plug plug plugged? Or, decided somewhere along the line that this music stood out more then, say, Visiter by The Dodos? I’ve heard a Dodos track played on Triple J, but it’s getting no where near the plug that Fleet Foxes is. Also, you’ll find that Fleet Foxes album in any store anywhere (Windsor Sounds even has it).

The kicker for me came while I was driving home tonight from work and heard the Fleet Foxes album reviewed on ABC 702 – wait, what? The ABC listening audience is now getting the plug? Wowow.

Who decides? I don’t think it starts with Pitchfork anymore. Or music bloggers in general. Or does it? Maybe it’s just that this is one of the only massively blogged-about albums (which it is) that has been commercial sounding enough to get this sort of push. But I don’t get why something like The Dodos wouldn’t get that push – their music is JUST as pretty, and lyrically it’s very good, and I think the percussion sounds unlike anything I’ve ever heard before.

But then maybe that’s it.

I don’t really know. All I know is that some of the bands I love will never, ever get the push that Fleet Foxes are currently enjoying over here. And while on one hand I’m a little relieved about that, on the other hand it’s kind of annoying. Momentum seems to be everything, and I wonder, if you’re a member of a fledgling band such as Dead Letter Chorus (who are SO GOOD), and you’re preparing to release your first full length album, do you lay in bed at night wondering how to find that momentum. How to find that first push, from that mysterious place, that will push you into the limelight and will make you that thing that every person must listen to and every radio station must play.

I was going to write much more tonight. About house hunting, about immune systems vs stress, and about plays about child murders that infiltrate your brain until you can think of nothing else. But then I spoke on the phone to my dad and emailed the boy and did some washing, and now it’s nearly 11.

God damn it.